It almost sounds ridiculous to even ask, “Can Squats Make Your Biceps Bigger?”
I mean, surely there’s no way a lower body exercise can give you massive guns.
With that being said, there’s more to the “King of Exercises” than first meets the eye.
In fact, there are those who will tell you that if you want bulging biceps then the squat rack should be your first port of call (and not to curl).
So, allow me to explain the nature of the relationship between squatting and bigger biceps.
Can Squats Make Your Biceps Bigger?
Squats can make your biceps grow, although they won’t do so directly. However, squats will induce the production of hormones, such as Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone. This internal anabolic hormonal reaction is what stimulates growth in the body. Some experts have stated that you need to add 10lbs of lean muscle for a 1-inch increase in biceps size. So, it makes sense to train the exercises that will stimulate the most growth in order to add size to your biceps.
1. Squats Can Make Everything Grow
Firstly, I will say that squats can indirectly make your biceps bigger.
In fact, squatting can pretty much make your whole body bigger.
However, by this I don’t mean there’s a certain way that you can hold the barbell in order to stimulate bicep growth.
So, don’t expect to take your squatting game to new levels and suddenly produce a set of bulging biceps.
With that being said, squats will induce an anabolic reaction within the body.
The very fact that you are using so many muscles whenever you squat will automatically increase metabolic activity.
We typically view squats as a lower body exercise, especially as a way to grow the quads and glutes.
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However, there are far more muscles at work than you’d probably think.
In fact, just to support a heavy barbell across the back of your shoulders requires various stabilizing muscles to work very hard.
It is this simple fact that you’re using so many muscles during a single exercise that stimulates this internal hormonal reaction.
You can expect increases in lactate, Human Growth Hormone (HGH), testosterone, and Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).
And it is this variety of hormones that are responsible for increasing overall body mass.
Basically, if you want to get big, regardless of where exactly on your body, squatting is as good a place as any to start.
As I say, you can’t expect your biceps to grow from squatting alone, but there is a direct relationship between squats and adding size to your frame.
2. The Squat-Biceps Scientific Research
There have actually been a fair few scientific studies into the relationship between squats and biceps size.
And there have been opposing views as to the effectiveness of squats on bicep size.
However, there is a very interesting takeaway when we look in more detail at these studies.
Firstly, we have a study conducted by the Journal of Applied Physiology.
The study took two sets of participants and had them perform biceps curls on different days, under different conditions, over a 15-week period.
The first group simply performed biceps curls and no other exercise.
But, the second group performed their biceps curls and then a heavy and high-volume leg exercise straight after.
It was found that the second group of trainees had an increase in hormonal production around 15 minutes after their workout.
However, even though they experienced this increase in anabolic hormones it made no difference to biceps size and strength after 15 weeks.
So, this study concluded that squats would not contribute to bigger biceps.
But, a second study conducted by Norwegian researchers at the European Journal of Applied Physiology came to a different conclusion.
They once again had two sets of participants.
The first group simply performed bicep curls, whereas the other group performed bicep curls and leg exercises.
The two groups trained 4 times a week for a total of 11 weeks.
However, what’s interesting about this study is that the second group of participants performed their leg training BEFORE their bicep curls.
The study concluded that group 2 experienced greater biceps muscle and strength gains than group 1.
The reason for this was due to the increased levels of serum testosterone and growth hormone in the second group.
Basically, training legs first will create an anabolic hormonal reaction which can improve and increase your biceps training.
3. You Have to Add Size For Bigger Biceps
I’ve alluded to this a few times already, but in order to get bigger biceps you have to get bigger overall.
Various experts have stated that you need to add around 10lbs of lean muscle mass in order to see a one-inch increase in bicep size.
So, realistically you could train your biceps directly each and every day, but never see an increase in size.
Sure, your biceps will become stronger and definitely more defined, but you won’t have added any actual mass to them.
Lee Hayward has a biceps specialization workout that specifically focuses on squats, chin ups and dips for the first phase of the 3-phase workout program.
Now, none of the exercises directly works the biceps, although the chin ups will obviously provide a lot of biceps stimulation.
However, Lee’s aim is to help you add the required body mass before he focuses specifically on actual biceps training.
And of course, the best way to get bigger is to train the big, compound exercises.
So, the obvious starting point will always be squats.
The same can be said for deadlifts, rows, chin ups, pull ups, and dips.
Okay, none of these exercises are viewed as conventional biceps exercises, but they will do a great deal to help you add mass to your frame.
Basically, if you want big biceps then you need to get bigger everywhere.
4. Traditional Biceps Exercises Work Best
Okay, so we’ve established that in order to get bigger biceps you’ll need to add size to your frame.
And the best way to achieve this is through working heavy compound exercises.
Additionally, in order to get bigger you’ll obviously have to focus on your nutrition as well.
To add size and weight you’ll need to eat at above maintenance calorie levels.
However, if you want a specific muscle group to get bigger then clearly you’ll need to directly train that muscle.
In other words, squats will only take you so far in your search for bigger biceps.
Yes, squats are the ideal way to work a plethora of muscles in the body at the same time.
And yes, this will help you to put on weight, which is what is required if you want any muscle in the body to get bigger.
But, the fact remains that you’ll still need to train your biceps directly.
Funnily enough, there are those genetic freaks who seem able to produce bulging biceps from a healthy dose of rows and pull ups.
But, for the rest of us mere mortals we’re going to have to hit a variety of curls and other exercises.
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So, I hope you understand that squats can make your biceps bigger, although not in a direct manner.
In order to add size to your biceps you’ll need to add size to your overall frame.
This will involve eating at a calorie surplus, as well as hitting all the biggest compound exercises.
And they don’t get much bigger than squats.
With that being said, squats will only take your bicep growth so far, and you should also train your biceps directly for optimal growth.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.